Slow Down a Fast Generation to Encourage Growth
Monday, April 15, 2019
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” (Chinese proverb)
Alas, here we are again, discussing the challenge millennials face in the workplace and, conversely, the challenge managers have working with millennials. The cultural rift between this new workforce and their directors can cause quite a bit of friction.
Moreover, according to a Gallup study, millennials are the least engaged, most actively disengaged, sector of the work landscape. This can be daunting, as the largest part of America’s workforce is in the hands of the least understood generation. Since John Hughes’ tapped into Generation X, there has never been a generation so wrought with stereotypes, either.
Do not despair! Among the thousands of books and articles, this one included, written about this enigmatic group, there are some fantastic and exciting things millennials bring to the table. It’s just a matter of tapping into those things and making magic happen.
What will motivate the social media, selfie-obsessed generation? According to a Udemy report, it’s all about learning and development.
This is where organizations have monumental challenges because, as we all know, once we reach a certain place of expertise and knowledge, growth (professional, personal, athletic) can be snail-slow. So how can organizations sell this slow-growth to a generation whose world moves at a WiFi clip?
1. Bring on the technology. Millennials are more likely to adapt to and embrace new technology at the workplace. So, if there’s going to be a software change, an update on any of your current (and probably outdated) office equipment, bring your millennials on board to lead the change and train the old fogeys.
2. Knowledge matters. This is exciting. Many of us come from a generation where pieces of papers to show off our degrees were of utmost importance. Millennials have stepped back to that place where learning and knowledge matters for the sake of learning and knowledge. It’s very Socrates, and it can be incredibly exciting.
3. Keep information Tweet-sized. Remember, this is a generation used to 140-characters, memes, and pictures. Long, detailed, Victorian-style information and 3-day training sessions will probably lose their interest. We know. You’re probably grumbling right now, but keep in mind this is a generation that learns quick and fast. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce within the next ten years, so we have to learn with them. These bite-sized learning moments are called microlearning. It’s effective, strategic, and a great way to get millennials on board.
4. Ask why. Purpose-driven organizations consistently have a more engaged workforce. A millennial’s why matters more than her what. Developing a clear mission and vision statement and bringing millennials on board to question, push, and live those statements is key to keeping them engaged. All training must come from a place of purpose.
5. It’s all about balance! Even though they’re connected 24 hours/day, they don’t want to be connected to work 24 hours/day. The Devil Wears Prada makes for a great movie, but it’s pretty much garbage when it comes to real life. This is the “life hack” generation. As a manager, knowing your millennials’ interests can be a great way to tap into their motivations and passions. This is a great way to develop training and ongoing education programs.
Millennials are changing the landscape of organizations by the way they work, learn, and engage. Instead of fighting the wave, smart organizations are finding ways to maximize this talent and develop a growth mentality in this young workforce … one tweet at a time.
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